Two cyclists test positive for prohibited performance-enhancing drugs at the 2018 Vuelta at Miami
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) surprised cyclists competing in the 2018 Vuelta a Miami race on July 29, 2018. USADA doping control officers collected urine samples from several cyclists who completed the 95-mile road race that is promoted as “the epic race of Florida”.
USADA recently announced that two cyclists tested positive for prohibited performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) – Raul Diaz of Miami and Mijail Gonzalez of Hialeah. The 48-year old Diaz and the 44-year old Gonzalez were both masters-level Category 2 road race competitors. And both were suspended from competition for a four-year period.
The prohibited drugs used by Diaz and Gonzalez were EPO and dexamethasone
Diaz and Gonzalez both tested positive for the prohibited drug dexamethasone. Dexamethasone belong to a class of steroid hormone called corticosteroids (or more specifically, glucorticoids). USADA bans the in-competition use of dexamethasone when it is administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes.
“Glucocorticoids can directly enhance performance by affecting energy, vascular and metabolic systems,” according to USADA, “as well as having pronounced neurophysiological and psychological benefits.”
In addition, Diaz tested positive for recombinant erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) that has been widely used in professional cycling to increase aerobic efficiency and improve oxygen transport. The use of EPO was particularly rampant in the 1990s and early 2000s when drug testing technology largely failed to detect or deter its use.
Diaz and Gonzalez were subject to doping control because they are members of USA Cycling (USAC). And the 2018 Vuelta a Miami was a USAC-sanctioned local event.
All competitive cyclists who are members of USAC are automatically enrolled in the USAC RaceClean Program. UCI pro cyclists are tested by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAD/UCI). However,
USADA administers the doping control for all amateur and domestic elite USAC members.
The drug testing is primarily funded by USAC member surcharges. Category 2 and 3 amateur cyclists pay a $5 RaceClean surcharge; Category 1 elite domestic cyclist pay a $35 surcharges; and UCI pro cyclists pay a $50 surcharge.
Cyclists who commit anti-doping rules violations are subject to a 4-year period of ineligibility for their first violation and potentially a lifetime suspension for a second violation.
— USADA (@usantidoping) September 27, 2018
— USADA (@usantidoping) October 3, 2018